The man who shot an unarmed security guard at the Family Research Council in the District pleaded guilty Wednesday and admitted to investigators that he planned to kill employees at the conservative organization and smother their faces with chicken sandwiches.
Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, faces up to 70 years in prison for the August attack, when he entered the group’s office lobby with a loaded semiautomatic pistol and shot the security guard in the arm. With the plea, Corkins becomes the first person guilty of terrorism under the District’s 2002 Anti-Terrorism Act.
“Today’s guilty plea makes clear that using violence to terrorize political opponents will not be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said. “Were it not for the heroic guard who tackled Floyd Corkins, he could have succeeded in perpetrating a mass killing spree in the nation’s capital.”
Court document state that Corkins told investigators he wanted to kill employees of the conservative organization because, “I don’t like these people, and I don’t like what they stand for.”
The research council is a conservative group that was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal Montgomery, Ala.-based civil rights organization, for its stance against gay marriage.
After the announcement of the guilty plea, council President Tony Perkins called for the center to remove its label, arguing that the group “can no longer say that it is not a source for those bent on committing acts of violence.”
In his statement to investigators, Corkins said he “had identified the Family Research Council as an anti-gay organization on the Southern Poverty Law Center website.”
Court papers show that Corkins brought a semiautomatic pistol, two fully loaded magazine clips with 15 rounds each, a box of 50 rounds of 9 mm bullets, and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches with him to the council’s office. The sandwiches were bought the day before the shooting, Corkins told investigators, with the purpose of smearing them in the faces of his victims.
Corkins told investigators, according to court papers, that he wanted to include the sandwiches in the shooting because “they endorse Chick-fil-A and also Chick-fil-A came out against gay marriage so I was going to use that as statement.”
Dan Cathy, the president of the fast-food restaurant, made headlines last summer when he spoke of his support for traditional marriage.
Based on interviews with investigators that were submitted for the court record, Corkins had been planning the attempted mass shooting for at least a week, and throughout the past years “had been thinking about perpetrating similar violence … but just never went through with it.”
Not only did he purchase a gun from a Loudoun County, Va. gun store four days prior to the attack, he returned the night before to take a shooting course. He told law enforcement officials that he also surveyed the research council’s building two days before the shooting.
On Aug. 15, he entered the lobby of the Family Research Council and confronted Leonardo Johnson at the front desk. Mr. Johnson and Corkins got into an argument before Corkins drew his gun and fired three shots, one of which hit Mr. Johnson’s left forearm. The guard was able to wrestle the gun from Corkins‘ hands and tackle him to the floor until help arrived.